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Is Santa Choo Coming to Cincinnati?
Reds Brass Wants World Series
by Robb Hoff
December 11. 2012
Just a couple of months ago, The collective of Cincinnati Reds fans known as Reds Country was left gutshot by a blown golden opportunity that saw one of the best teams in Major League Baseball crumple during a three-game playoff homestand.
Today, a cold snap announced that some form of winter most definitely will descend into Reds Country, but the Hot Stove news coming out of the state of Ohio not only heated things up for Reds Fans in a hurry -- it also took some of the sting out of the Reds post-season collapse.
Because Santa Choo is coming to town!
For the mindless masses who will be sucked into the media frenzy poised to anoint the bloated Los Angeles Dodgers as the next Emperor of Big Market Baseball, the trade of Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds won't move the numbskull Richter scale.
But for the folks who closely follow the game, the Reds acquisition of Choo is awe inspiring for the sheer perfection of the move to trade expendable pieces for a one-year rental of a star player who will be positioned to play for the salary of a lifetime that he'll surely earn after his one year rental with the Reds is complete.
Choo stands to have a career year in the process, a year among years as a leadoff hitter in a lineup that will likely drive him in at least 110 times. The Reds will roll the dice that Choo can man centerfield --not exactly a gimme -- but the risk-reward in this case for a viable leadoff hitter who won't strike out 200 times like Drew Stubbs is definitely worth the risk.
Stubbs, of course, is the odd man out -- not just because Choo is in, but also because speed demon Billy Hamilton will be with the big league club in 2014 after playing centerfield for a year at the Triple A level. Hamilton is the centerfielder and leadoff hitter of the future for the Reds.
Besides Stubbs, the Reds plan to ship out an outstanding shortstop prospect in Didi Gregorious, who became expendable with the emergence of Zack Cozart last year. Gregorious will give the Cleveland Indians (the Reds trading partner) the latitude to either keep Gregorious and deal Asdrubal Cabrera or trade to get young starting pitchers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
At least that's how the theory goes.
One major piece in this puzzle is how much will Choo be paid and who will pay him. Choo is in his final year of arbitration and will command upwards of Ryan Ludwick money. It be downright neighborly of the Indians if they'd foot the bill for their southerly neighbor!
The Shoo trade with the Indians isn't the kind of franchise-building steal that the Reds thieved from the Tribe in the Brandon Phillips deal, but as far as one-year rentals go, Santa Choo looks like a perfect Christmas gift that will help the Reds keep pace with the Big Market Money Machine that continues to try to buy its way to a World Series ring.
In the long term a trade for Choo won't rank up there with the last time the Reds traded for a centerfield who made the difference in a World Series bid (no, not Ken Giffey, Jr.), but it will make some of us in Reds Country want to hear that Big Red Machine echo ......."Geronimo!".